Sunday, July 18, 2021
Older Singles Have Found a New Way to Partner Up: Living Apart
Linda Randall, a Chicago psychotherapist, became a widow in 2016 but began to have romantic feelings for someone else about three years later. Linda had dated the man when she was in her 20s and had reconnected with him as a friend in 2015.
Linda was taken aback when she began to feel romantic feelings with this man. According to Linda, "[h]e was not in great shape. . .He'd had two heart attacks and two stents. I thought a lot about what to do."
After dating for more than a year, the couple expressed their mutual love for one another. However, when the man asked to move in with her, Linda declined. Linda stated that "[h]e was hurt at first. . .but I like my space, and we're different in how we live."
Less than a year ago, when he underwent surgery and needed recuperative care, Linda hired a live-in caregiver for him. While he was recuperating, his caregiver would walk him over to Linda's place. As the couple's intimacy continues, he can now manage on his own with his walker and he and Linda spend weekends together at Linda's place when his caregiver is off.
As social relationships and social norms evolve, older people like Linda Randall are "increasingly re-partnering in various forms." Cohabitation following divorce and widowhood is an area where things are becoming what some may call "non-traditional."
Older adults that are seeking and finding love as an "antidote to loneliness" may fear that "a romantic attachment in later life will shortly lead to full-time caregiving."
This fear may very well lead older adults to avoid romantic relationships later in life, and may look to their friends and families for that fix.
See Francine Russo, Older Singles Have Found a New Way to Partner Up: Living Apart, N.Y. Times, July 16, 2021.
Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.